Not one ounce of my time or energy was wasted on the cysts between the months July and December 2010. Instead, Tommy and I spent most of our time preparing for the wedding. When the big day arrived we were ready to cherish the moment. We had a wonderful time and as the celebrations concluded we headed to Budapest so I could acquaint myself with Tommy’s hometown and his extended family. I fell in love with Tommy’s relatives, the beautiful city of Budapest and its culinary delights. My Hungarian improved ever so slightly to the point that I was fully capable of commenting on the weather, nagyon hideg.
With the arrival of the new year, I decided it was best to reconnect with the doctor who had given me a second opinion. I did not want to return empty handed, so I made sure that I went for the ultrasound (which could only be scheduled for the insane hour of 7:00 am) and the blood test. The ultrasound confirms the type of cysts and their sizes. The blood test would measure the amount of CA 125 in my blood and if I never again have to hear about this protein it will be too soon.
The doctor’s office was conveniently located near some nice restaurants, so I scheduled that the appointment for a Thursday evening and figured that Tommy and I deserved a nice dinner after a long week of work. That particular work week turned out to be quite short as far as I was concerned. I was laid off on Monday and while I was not all that disappointed about the prospect of having a few months off, I can’t pretend that it didn’t sting. In Israel, being laid off (or fired) is a process that involves multiple meetings over a number of days. By the end of that week all I could think of was going home and opening a bottle of wine. This Dr.’s appointment was the only thing between me and a merlot.
I sat across from the doctor who told me it was a good thing that I came in because he would have called me with disturbing news after reviewing my blood tests – this guy had an unparalleled bedside manner. He printed out an order for me to be hospitalized and directed me to have the cysts removed immediately. Apparently, my CA 125 indicated that they could become cancerous. My face must have gone white and he oh so comfortingly explained that he was not saying that I had cancer, at least not yet – grand slam for that bedside manner! I asked him if this would hurt my chances of being able to have a baby and he told me cancer was a far more serious problem. Thanks!
I walked out in shock, I was completely unprepared for this news. What the hell was going on? I felt as though nearly every aspect of my life was crumbling to the ground. I could handle loosing my job and I knew that Tommy and would face infertility together, but the threat of cancer was too much.
I dialed Tommy’s cell and of course, it went straight to voice mail. So I redialed about a million times but his phone must have been off. Tears started streaming down my face and I walked and walked and walked and hit redial every 30 seconds. This was not the first time that I had wandered through the streets of Jerusalem crying, there is a guy out there who once drove me to tears but it was nothing that a few doses of scotch couldn’t fix. This time I was lost, the familiar Jerusalem streets were suddenly a maze and I could not figure out how to get home.
Finally, Tommy answered his phone
“Tobyka, I ‘m sorry my battery died, what’s wrong?’
I couldn’t even talk, so I got into a cab and told Tommy to meet me outside. The cab pulled up and there he was waiting for me. I knew that I was not in this alone. That whatever was ahead, he would be there – ideally with a fully charged cellphone.
We decided to take Dr. Google’s advice and we looked up CA 125 and discovered that endometriosis is one of a number of conditions that can cause an elevated CA 125. We spent the rest of the night on the phone with various friends in the medical field and agreed the cysts should be removed, but I did go to sleep in a much calmer state of mind – I finally got my wine.